The producers have for the past two years been filming and documenting the demise of the largest freshwater fish in the world! The Mekong River’s giant catfish. The Pla Buek is on the path to extinction and has recently been listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered.
Like many species in the Mekong, the giant catfish needs great stretches of the river to migrate seasonally—and it must have specific water quality and flow to move through its lifecycles of spawning, eating, and breeding.
The Mekong itself is under a greater threat from human development. Over 160 million people along its banks in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam rely on the river for their livelihood. Growing pressure by fisheries, damming, and habitat destruction threaten not only the giant catfish and other species that live in the river—but also the welfare of the people who depend on the Mekong.
A blasting project upstream, (part of navigation channel improvements planned by the governments of China , Myanmar , Thailand , and Lao People’s Democratic Republic) is designed to alter the flow of the Mekong to open up a Trade route down the Mekong bringing goods from China into Thailand. This degradation of the river system is threatening the livelihoods of over 170 million people who rely on the feeding habits of indigenous fish now unable to swim upstream to spawn.